The Chinese government has granted new licenses to state-run mobile operators to share spectrum for 5G indoor coverage, Chinese press reported.

China Telecom, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network will share the 3.3-3.4 GHz spectrum for 5G indoor coverage, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The three mobile network operators will leverage the “co-development and sharing of 5G indoor access networks to cut costs and boost efficiency,” the ministry said.

The government’s decision to allow use of public mobile frequencies by more than a single operator aims to encourage joint construction and sharing of 5G infrastructure across the country.

In June of last year, the Chinese government officially issued licenses for the launch of commercial 5G networks in the country. Those 5G permits were granted to China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and state-owned broadcaster China Broadcasting Network (CBN). At the end of 2018, the MIIT issued licenses for 5G trials in a number of cities across China.

China Telecom and China Unicom received 100 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band, while market leader China Mobile obtained 260 megahertz in the 2.6 GHz and 4.9 GHz bands.

CBN had previously announced plans to invest CNY250 million ($35.8 million) to deploy 5G service in 16 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom launched commercial 5G services in November 2019. The service was initially available in large cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Tianjin.

According to previous reports, the three operators were expecting to operate nearly 130,000 5G base stations by the end of 2019. China Mobile announced plans to install 50,000 5G sites by end-2019, while China Unicom and China Telecom each target about 40,000, according to press reports.

In September 2019, China Telecom and China Unicom inked an agreement to cooperatively build a 5G mobile network, with the main aim of reducing costs.

Under the “co-build, co-share” deal, the carriers will work together to outline districts in 15 cities for the network construction, with their respective total scale of 4G base stations in mind.

Also, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently announced that all the 300 prefecture-level cities in China are expected to be covered by a 5G network by the end of 2020.

China Mobile, the world’s largest telco in terms of subscribers, recently said it already provides 5G services in 50 cities across China. The operator aims to end 2020 with a total of  70 million 5G users.

China Mobile is working with Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson and ZTE in the deployment of its 5G network. According to a previous report published by the South China Morning Post, China Mobile has awarded half of its 5G network equipment contracts to Huawei Technologies.

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